The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Galatians 5:19-26
I drive a 2001 Ford Focus, so I don’t much pay attention to the gauges on my dashboard because they're pretty much irrelevant. When I turn on the ignition, I’m just happy the car starts. It's not uncommon for my "in town" car (aka it will combust if it goes on the highway) to have the Check Engine light illuminated. Like many of you, I go about my merry way and ignore the warning sign. I'm trying to squeeze out as many remaining miles as I possibly can without visiting my local service shop.
The tachometer on a worn-out Ford Focus might be irrelevant, but the gauges that exist in our heart, mind, and soul should be of utter importance. Just like a Check Engine light going off warns us of issues underneath the hood, there are behaviors, thought patterns, and actions that serve as indicators about the state of our heart.
I came across a study recently that said ten percent of all cars on the road have a Check Engine light on, and the drivers of half of these cars have ignored the light for more than three months. I'd say the percentage of people walking around who have avoided checking up on their spiritual health is even more significant.
We spend much of our lives cruising on autopilot. We coast through our days and, as a result, we miss or ignore the clues about the health of our spirit. A diagnostic check is needed.
Just like a mechanic will go through a battery of tests to diagnose what's taking place underneath the hood, God has provided a way for us to process and evaluate the health of our heart.
In Galatians 5, the apostle Paul highlights the Fruits of the Spirit. When we follow and trust Christ, qualities like love, joy, peace, and patience should be visible in our lives. Each characteristic listed spring up when the Holy Spirit is actively working in our daily lives. They are byproducts that come from our continued reliance on Him.
If we want to know if we're healthy, we can go to this list time and time again and reflect on whether these character traits describe our words, actions, and perspective. The time has come to pay attention to the gauges of our heart.
Which fruit of the Spirit has God been developing in your life recently?
Which fruit of the Spirit do you struggle with frequently?
God, I commit to being vulnerable enough to explore the current state of my heart. Open my eyes to Your works within me so I can celebrate them. Expose the places in my life that don't bring You honor and glory so I can work on them. In everything I do, may You be seen. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.